When I joined the Leaders for Global Operations team this week, my colleagues joked I was moving on up…one floor. I had been sitting in the same building as Director of Education and communications coordinator for the MIT Portugal Program, a collaboration between MIT and multiple universities and companies in Portugal sponsored by the Government of Portugal. MIT Portugal is creating a cohort of new leaders trained in Engineering Systems to enhance Portugal’s capacity to bring new products and services into global markets. Prior to spending time in E40, I was stationed in Lisbon for 2+ years as the MIT liaison to Portuguese institutions, and in a previous role with the Cambridge-MIT Institute I lived for some time in the “other Cambridge” in the UK. Becoming part of LGO is a wonderful opportunity to build upon my collaborations with MITs international academic and industrial partners, and to take my experience supporting MIT faculty projects and focus in on global manufacturing and operations.
My first day at LGO fell on Ambassador Day, when the program invites prospective students to campus to experience classroom discussions, sit in on industry partner seminars, and talk with faculty, current LGOs and alumni about what makes this program unique. I had the chance to chat with several prospective students and they all shared a few key characteristics that make them stand out from most early-career professionals. They are coming out of a variety of engineering backgrounds and have enough work experience to know they want management expertise that will help them leverage their technical expertise; they see their future roles in these dual capacities as playing out in the world of manufacturing and operations; and, they see LGO as the program that could launch their careers in this direction. A General Motors leadership seminar featuring two LGO alumni brought home the varied challenges that LGO graduates might expect to take on, with GM’s response to bankruptcy being just one dramatic example of the situations in which LGOs contribute immediate solutions to their companies, from their internships on throughout their careers.
The closing panel discussion among current students and graduates added a personal dimension to my appreciation of the program. LGOs are a tight-knit bunch and clearly enjoy great relationships with each other, with their faculty instructors and advisors, and with the broader MIT community that their dual focus allows them to experience so fully. I’m looking forward to being part of this community that extends to the partner companies, to the China LGO students and industry partners, and to the LGO network around the US and the world.